Every time Marist needed a play in a game the RedHawks needed to win Friday night, Darshon McCullough was there.
The junior had 13 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown and came up with a key interception in the end zone as Marist snapped a three-game losing streak with a 21-7 victory over Benet in an East Suburban Catholic game in Chicago.
“We knew we had to win this one,” McCullough said. “We were 1-3. They were 4-0. We needed the win. My teammates made great plays all night.”
Marist (2-3, 1-2) led 14-7 at halftime and by the same score with just under 10 minutes left in the game when Benet had a first down at the RedHawks 14. That’s when McCullough came up big again, intercepting Jack Sznajder’s pass in the end zone after it was deflected by Marist’s Marty Meyer.
“McCullough made big plays on both sides of the ball,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said. “That’s something that we stress. Our guys did a great job, they were ready for this game, and they got the win. Now we can enjoy this (Friday), but then we have to get ready for next week. Every game is big for us now.”
Benet (4-1, 2-1) had one more chance while still within seven after the interception, but went three and out as Patrick O’Connor came up with one of his two sacks on third down.
Brendan Skalitzky (21-of-30, 251 yards passing) ran for a 12-yard score with 1:21 left to ice the win.
Brad Sznajder ran 17 times for 133 yards to lead Benet. Jack Kelly came up with two sacks as the Redwings defense did its best to match Marist’s.
Returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of Marist’s previous three games, Jawill Aldridge made his presence felt quickly, scampering for a 51-yard touchdown run to give the RedHawks the lead less than five minutes in.
Aldridge ran 11 times for 81 yards before appearing to re-injure the ankle late in the first half.
Skalitzky hooked up with McCullough on a 44-yard scoring strike in the opening moments of the second quarter to extend the lead to 14-0.
Benet, meanwhile, went three-and-out on its first five possessions. Brad Sznajder finally gave the Redwings their first first down on a 21-yard run with 4:40 left in the first half. He followed that with runs of 22 and 35 yards on the next two plays.
Brad Sznajder got the ball again on first-and-goal from the seven, but fumbled near the goal line. Benet lineman Connor O’Donnell, though, pounced on it in the end zone for a touchdown and Benet cut the Marist lead in half.
Jack Sznajder finished 10-of-24 passing for 120 yards and two interceptions. Karl Schmidt had three catches for 42 yards and Colin Brahler three catches for 39 yards for Benet.
Marist finished with a 391-255 edge in total yards.